Telescope Performance: Past, Present, and Future

  • Frank Melsheimer
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 287/8/9)


Historically telescopes and instruments have been controlled by the observer at the guiding eyepiece in the cold and dark observatory. Here the observer performed boring menial tasks for hours to capture a small amount of astronomical data. Today most observing is being performed from an air-conditioned “warm” room using a very efficient CCD detector. The observer is assisted by a computer that performs the menial tasks at a level not even dreamed possible 30 years ago. In a few years, the observer will be partially replaced with sophisticated computer software that will schedule the observations, control the telescope, operate the instruments, gather the data, preprocess the data, and transmit the data to the “observer”. The past, present, and future performance requirements for telescopes are examined in terms of optics, pointing, tracking, controls, structures, and support functions.


telescopes: automated remote operation efficiency 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Melsheimer
    • 1
  1. 1.DFM Engineering, Inc.LongmontUSA

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